Motherhood is an art form and a balancing act. You are always "on" and you never really know if you're doing it right until they're grown up and it's too late to change anything. You just dive in feet first and hope/pray for the best. Good luck and have faith, Momma!
Most days, I feel pretty "on the ball," as they say. Making all the right choices and keeping up with everyone's crap. Then there are days when I completely forget that I started a load of laundry and it lives in the washer for 3 days, develops a strange smell, and has to be washed 3 more times just to get the smell out. Balance, right?
In my opinion, the most important thing should always be the well-being of your family. That will look different in every home, but you have to remember that you can only control what you do and no one else. That includes your husband and your kid(s). I know that might sound crazy and it's absolutely not what you want to hear, but it's the truth and we might as well all accept it right now. All we can do is teach our children what's right and what's wrong and hope they're listening.
It would be easy if everyone just did what we told them to do, as soon as we said it, without complaint or protest, but motherhood isn't a utilitarian dictatorship and raising our kids that way will not benefit them in the long run. We have to teach not just tell them how to be good people, for the benefit of the whole world. No pressure or anything. Not to mention, "easy" is never really very fun. The challenge is part of the pleasure. Although, that could just be my stubborn, argumentative, mildly masochistic strike talking...
The old saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" can easily be applied to motherhood. No child was raised to be a decent human in one day. If that were true, we would be living in a much different world. And Chick-fil-A would deliver 24/7. What we do, shaping lives, raising people, is hard work and that statement cannot be emphasized enough.
We have to walk the line between encouraging and teaching our children to be independent and protecting them from a world that gets scarier and crazier by the day. We want them to be confident and adventurous, but we want to keep them close in an effort to keep them safe. It's insane and exhausting and it is the reason why there are so many "mom loves wine" themed merchandise. By the end of the day, we all need something to help us decompress because, holy shit, man! This is ridiculous. Personally I hate wine, but I will almost always say yes to some Jack in my Dr Pepper. Especially if it's Honey Jack. Yum.
The world is quick to tell moms what they're supposed to be doing and all the ways they're screwing up and how badly they're going to be damaging their kids in the long run by doing this or not doing that. The absolute best thing you can do for your kids (and yourself) is to tell the world to suck it. The only person who can tell you how to best raise your kids is you. You know them. You know their needs, abilities and you know how to reach them better than anyone else in the whole damn world. No specialist with 20 PhDs can read my kid better than I can. I know their hurt cries. I can differentiate between tired, hungry, and just grumpy in an instant. They are my babies (yes, I know neither of them are really babies anymore) and I know them better than anyone else.
I spend 24/7 with these tiny humans and I am better equip to handle them than pretty much anyone. Please don't misunderstand, my husband is a badass, amazing dad. I'm talking about all these so-called child development pros. Read the articles, get ideas to test and try out, but don't feel obligated to follow every rule and suggestion presented to you by these "pros". You know what will work and what won't. Use what you want and disregard the rest.
What works for one will almost certainly not work for the next. This is the one piece of parenting advice I received thus-far that is worth repeating.
Connor still loves sleeping in our bed with us. Kylar has always hated it; he can't sleep with anyone else in the room.
Kylar loves breastfeeding and prefers to get his milk from directly from the source. Connor was happy either way: boob or bottle.
Connor hated walkers. Kylar will use anything he can get his hands on to help him walk rather than going solo.
Connor was a German train when it came to keeping his schedule. Kylar is very go-with-the-flow as long as he gets food and sleep, he doesn't really care about "when".
Every kid is different. We get to navigate those mine fields and figure out what works with each one through a super fun (I really need a sarcasm font) method of trail and error. For a second time, I'd like to wish you good luck, momma.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community